Erryn reviews ‘Beautiful and Terrible Things’ by Riley Hart. The ebook was published December 30, 2020 and is 240 pages. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Michael Fell, released on February 12, 2021 and is 9 hrs and 5 mins long. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I love Riley Hart.
We were six years old when I fell in love with Gage Beaumont.
We were 17 when he realized he felt the same.
His dad was the town troublemaker, and I was the son of a cop. We couldn’t have been more different, yet we were best friends, had each other’s backs, and kept each other’s secrets. “What you are, I am,” we always said.
Then one night irrevocably changed our lives forever.
It’s 10 years before I see Gage again, and instantly I can tell he’s not the same boy I fell in love with. We’re both haunted and hardened by the memory of that night – of everything we did and saw.
Yet as much as we’ve changed, the connection between us lingers. Our history is so devastatingly complicated that it’s difficult to allow ourselves happiness. With every touch, every laugh, every moment we take back, the more signs I see of the old Gage resurfacing. Little by little, I’m becoming the Joey he remembers, too.
But it’s never that easy. If we truly want to heal, we have to find strength not only in each other, but in ourselves. Life is filled with beautiful and terrible things, and this time, we’ll do whatever it takes to hold on to the good, and to each other.
Warning: While this is a story about friendship, found family, and two men epically in love, it also deals with difficult themes: childhood physical and verbal abuse, some violence, depression, and anxiety.
Some books have little impact on me. I listen, I enjoy, I write a review. Some books touch me. I listen, I think about, I write a longer review. Some books devastate me. I listen, I meditate, I go to therapy, I write an angst-filled review. This book landed somewhere in the middle. I listened, it broke me, it put me back together, and I’m writing this review. We’ll see how long it turns out.
Now, I love Riley Hart. Some of her books are just plain fun. Some make me think. Some have lasting impacts. This was one of those books. Now, please don’t let me scare you off. This is an amazing book. I think everyone should read it, but there are trigger warnings for a reason.
This wasn’t always an easy book to listen to, but sometimes I need to sit in the discomfort. Many gay kids and teenagers have it rough. Joey definitely was on the brutal end of the spectrum. The abuse he endured was heartbreaking. And so was the neglect Gage endured. We rarely have perfect parents, but we keep hoping the cycle of abuse will stop. Gage and Joey do come to realize how their childhoods impacted them. And how one horrific night changed everything.
I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll keep this review short. There was definitely angst in the book, and the dark moment was definitely dark. But Gage and his Jojo did come out the other side. Their love for each other saw them through some difficult times, and having the knowledge of the other at least brought some solace, even when they couldn’t be together. And I have to say they had amazing friends and mentors who impacted their lives.
As for the narrator, I really enjoy Michael Fell’s work. He worked perfectly for this book because he does children and teenage voices really well and his female voices also work. I don’t know how the partnership between Ms. Hart and Mr. Fell came about, but it was magic.
Listen to the book. Sit in the discomfort. Rejoice in the beautiful ending. You will be a changed person for it. For me, I believe, a better person.
10/10 pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a hopeless romantic. A lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together. If she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her reading.Riley lives in North Carolina with her awesome family, who she is thankful for everyday.